Saturday, January 20, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: Little Man on Campus
Dick Bibler started drawing his Little Man On Campus panel around 1946, apparently about the time that he entered college at the University of Kansas. When he graduated around 1950 he appears to have already begun self-syndicating the panel to other college papers, and by the mid-50s the feature appeared in a pretty impressive number of college organs.
Bibler was an excellent gag writer, especially adept at slightly naughty material about oversexed college boys. Bibler wasn't much of an artist, but his girls were usually drawn well enough to keep the college boys happy. His sexy girls were drawn in a myriad of styles because most of them were swiped from the more adept work of other cartoonists.
Bibler's panels bore code letters and numbers rather than dates, a necessity since he supplied cartoons to publications ranging from daily (The Daily Collegian, for instance) to monthlies and even quarterlies.
The cartoonist, presuming that his readers on 1950s college campuses might want to continue seeing the cartoons after leaving their alma mater, made an attempt to self-syndicate the panel to mainstream newspapers in the 1960s. The panel is known to have appeared in papers like the Tampa Times from 1963 to 1965, but I've never seen any copyrighted later than 1964.
Many reprint books of the feature were published, starting in 1946 and appearing regularly through the 50s. Some of these command rather high prices on the collectible book market, indicating that Bibler apparently still has a loyal following.
How are comics that ran in college strips listed? Just those that's well-known (like "Eyebeam") or is it more complex?
That lawsuit link came up as a tiny little snippet. Any idea how to see the rest of it? That could be VERY informative stuff!
To make short links you can use TinyUrl (http://www.tinyurl.com).
Thanks very much for the links.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: Der Colonel und Der Kidders
DeVoss Driscoll produced the St. Louis Globe-Democrat's homegrown Sunday section practically singlehanded from late 1903 until the middle of 1905, when the paper waved the white flag and switched to a syndicated comic section. This strip wasn't one of the high points on Driscoll's tenure, but was to be expected. Pretty much every homegrown comic section featured a Katzies clone. Don't blame the cartoonists for having no imagination, though. It was undoubtedly the editors that commanded these rip-off to be included. Der Colonel under der Kidders ran from June 12 1904 until the end of the homegrown section on July 30 1905.
Driscoll never produced any other comic strips that I know of except for his run at the Globe-Democrat. Here's a link to more about Driscoll.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: Laugh-In
For those of you too young to remember, Laugh-In was a phenomenally popular comedy television show that ran from 1967 to 1973. It was sort of a mod version of vaudeville, featuring fast-paced jokes and sketches, lots of double entendres and babes in bikinis. Among the regulars were Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, Lily Tomlin, and the hosts, Dick Martin and Dan Rowan. The show was so popular that they even got president Richard Nixon to make a guest appearance, uttering one of the show's many catch-phrases, "Sock it to me." You can read more about the show here or here. Here's a link to video clips from the show.
The show was an instant success and became appointment viewing for most of the country. Naturally success breeds merchandising, and one of those was a comic strip that attempted to emulate the feeling of the show. The strip started on September 23 1968, presumably timed to coincide with the premier of the second TV season.
Roy Doty was at the helm of the strip, and his cartooning style was a perfect vehicle to get across the modern breezy style of the show. The problem came in the writing. Laugh-In was a show that revelled in groaningly bad jokes, funny because of the way the cast members delivered the gags. If you were to read a script for a Laugh-In show you wouldn't crack a smile, but once the great cast got hold of the material it turned to gold on the air. Without that great cast delivering the material, the comic strip was doomed. Doty was further hobbled by apparently being instructed to not use the cast of the show as his models (I guess in case they left the show or expected payment for their appearances on the comics page). That made his job even harder -- if he got to use caricatures of the cast members the reader could supply the proper voice to get across the gags better.
Such was the popularity of the TV show that the strip was given a berth in a ton of papers. Newspaper editors having a high coefficient of friction, it actually took a long time for them to recognize the strip as a loser and give it the heave-ho. It lasted until sometime in 1972 (anyone know the exact date?), just one year less than the TV show itself.
No one has mentioned your recently implemented Stripper's Guide Scan tag, thought I might.
I have nothing against it, but would like to compliment you on the unobtrusive way you have put it on the strips.
It has actually become kind of a game to find the insert - the game gets really tough when you forget to add it.
Yeah, caught a site using the images without acknowledging me, so decided it was time to start taking credit on them (for better or worse!).
I suppose the smart thing to do would be to slap a big ugly logo right on the art so it can't easily be edited out, but I just couldn't bear to deface the material to that extent. Just an ol' softy, that's me. I'm glad to know that I'm succeeeding at being as unobtrusive as possible. Maybe I'll get good enough at hiding them that it'll be like finding "Nina"s !
This is a new policy, and you're right that I've been forgetting to 'tag' some of the scans.
... or have I...
Do you know anything about "Menomonee Falls Guardian"? It was apparently a "newspaper" that reprinted syndicated comics (from then recent strips such as "Eek & Meek" and "Beetle Bailey" to classics like "Krazy Kat"). Each issue is about 16 pages long.
I ended up buying 11 of them, soley because they reprinted "Conchy" and "Sally Bananas."
They come up on eBay regularly. The Guardian was not as popular as the Gazette, which concentrated on story strips, but for my money, since I prefer humor strips, it was great stuff.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: Meddlesome Millie
The strip isn't memorable except for Bert Cobb's excellent cartooning. Cobb was active in newspaper cartooning in Philadelphia at the turn of the century, did a little work for McClure's new Sunday section in 1901, then pops up in Boston later in the decade, doing a few strips for the Herald and the Post.
I hear that Bert Cobb later made a name for himself drawing show dogs, and there are several books from the thirties of that nature, but I don't know if it's the same guy.
I do have a question. E-bay seller H. Lowery (of the Lowery Galary) regularly sells originals from a company called Sponsored Comics. He got a huge lot of them many years ago and sells them one a month or so. But I know none of the titles, even though some of the artists are well known. Titles such as the funny lion Moxey by Gantz, serious crime solver Hub Cabs by Jay Howard (which seems to be a pseudonym of Norman Maurer and someone like Overgard), Happy Days by Norman Maurer and another (later) one by Gantz about three girls called something like We 3. All are in the three tier sunday format and from the late fifties onwards.
At first I thought they may be try-out strips that were never published. But there seemed to be quite a few of them and some of them were accompanied by color overlays. This week a new one (for me) from Boltinoff turns up; a daily one tier called Woody Forrest. This has a publication date on it: une 29 to July 5, 1959. This suggests that it may have been a strip done for weekly papers. That would explain a lot... except maybe the color overlays.
Anything you can ad?
I've tried to find out more about Sponsored Comics in the past, didn't really get anywhere. Lowery gave a vague explanation saying nothing, and I checked with the CSC folks who didn't have any ideas.
My guess is that these were marketed as part of a shopper section, something that stores would give away.
I just did actually get a new lead on these a short while ago, should know more soon if my guess pans out. I'll post on the blog about it if my hunch turns out to be a good one.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Evans Fetes Ireland
Here's a lovely page that Ray Evans put together as a tribute to his fellow Columbus Dispatch cartoonist Billy Ireland. Evans mostly did editorial cartoons for the Dispatch, and also occasionally filled in on Ireland's The Passing Show. You can read more about the great Billy Ireland here.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: Alice's Adventures in Funnyland
The Chicago Tribune inaugurated their new comics section in 1901 with a front page feature titled Alice's Adventures in Funnyland. The strip started on November 10, was drawn by Roy W. Taylor, and starred a mischievous little girl named Alice, an unnamed maid, and the Duchess, a neighbor lady. The strip was a fantasy with talking animals and bizarre locales.
The strip showed a lot of promise to be a sort of Little Nemo style adventure, but then after just four episodes Taylor left the strip. Walter Bradford filled in for one week (12/8), and then the strip was taken over by a cartoonist who rarely signed the strip. On the occasions he did sign it was as E. Young. Young dropped the fantasy element and melded the Duchess and the maid into a single character. The story now became a more typical Sunday comic strip of the day, with the mischievous Alice pulling pranks on the Duchess. The Duchess really became the star of the show, and her dialogue was written with a thick lower-class Irish accent that was often all but indecipherable. The dialect was, I suppose, intended to be humorous, but really just made the strip a challenge for the reader to decode.
The strip chugged along, with little to recommend it, until March 26 1905. If you'd like to read more of the strip. including the very promising 1901 Taylor episodes, you'll find them reproduced in black and white on the Barnacle Press blog (see sidebar for link).
Sunday, January 14, 2007
News of Yore: 1940 Ad Advertising + Obits
Walter W. Blackman, 65, for 21years political cartoonist for the Birmingham (Ala.) Age-Herald, before going to Cleveland 16 years ago joining McNitt's, an engraving firm, died Dec. 29 at his home in Willowick, a Cleveland suburb. He started his career as a newspaper boy and later became political cartoonist. He was the originator of one of the first animated motion picture cartoons. He also held the patent for a process to take motion picture in natural color, long before the advent of technicolor. He was a member of the Gridiron and the National Press Clubs of Washington, where he was regarded as an authority on political economy.
Clarence "Cad" Brand, 71, veteran Milwaukee newspaperman who began his career as a cartoonist for the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1900, died recently. On the Sentinel he first specialized in political cartoons but later began to draw the sports cartoons for which he was best and widely known. He signed his work "Cad." After fracturing his arm in 1937, he retired.
Willis H. Thorndike, 68, nationally known political cartoonist who retired about 15 years ago, died March 18 at his Hollywood, Cal., home.
Labels: News of Yore